FIRST EDITION OF THE FIRST AMERICAN HERBAL, WITH NATIVE AMERICAN REMEDIES, 1801—UNCUT IN ORIGINAL BOARDS
STEARNS, Samuel. American Herbal, or Materia Medica. Walpole, New Hampshire: David Carlisle, for Thomas & Thomas, 1801. Octavo, original boards sympathetically respined, uncut. Housed in a custom clamshell box. $7200.
First edition of the first American herbal, in original boards.
"The first herbal both produced and printed in the United States, as opposed to those which were reprints of European works. Stearns' home remedies sometimes strayed beyond the boundaries of herbal medicine; for instance, he devoted an entry to bears, in which he described the uses of their flesh, oil and grease, and warned his readers that they often do much damage by killing sheep, destroying corn, and sometimes the human species. The work also includes information on American Indian remedies" (Norman). "Stearns was born in Bolton, Massachusetts, in 1747; he became a physician and astronomer, practicing his profession first in Worcester, Massachusetts, then in New York, and finally in Brattleborough, Vermont" (Famous Americans). "In 1801, at the threshold of the nineteenth century, Stearns wrote The American Herbal, which told of the herbs used for medicine. From the 17th to the 19th centuries, the colonial housewives had to supervise or do their own growing and harvesting of herbs. Living in a wilderness separated from any near-by source of supply, they were forced to provide as liberally as they could for food and medicine during the coming year" (Herbs in the United States). Garrison & Morton 1838.2. Howes S911. Norman 2008. Sabin 90959. Bookplate.
Repaired marginal closed tear to leaf P (pp. 169-70), not affecting text. Some faint marginal dampstaining, rear free endpaper remargined. Light wear to board edges. A very desirable uncut copy in the original boards.